If your dog has been being scared, at night, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog get scared at night? Possible causes of your dog being scared at night are that it has separation anxiety, an issue with its diet, an issue with the room it sleeps in, an injury or illness, it is still a puppy or it hears noises outside.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog is scared at night
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely.
The cause might also be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it starts showing signs of being anxious when you are leaving to go to bed, at night, and if it does not become scared when it can sleep where you sleep.
An issue with its diet
It could be the case that the cause is that there is an issue with its diet. It could be that it is eating things it should not be, it is eating too much or not enough. This would be more likely if it is scared when it eats certain foods or if it has started doing it since a change in its diet.
An issue with the room it sleeps in
The cause could also be that there is an issue with the room it sleeps in. It might be the case that it is too noisy, too bright or there could be something else in the room causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely if it does not become scared as much when it can sleep in different rooms.
The cause might also be that it hears noises at night. This would be more likely if it tends to get scared on nights that are particularly noisy such as when it is windy or raining.
Other animals outside
The reason why it does it might be that there are other animals in the backyard and your dog can see or hear them. This would be more likely if you have seen or heard other animals at night or if there are signs of them being in the backyard at night.
Injury or illness
It could be the case that an injury has been causing it to behave differently and to feel vulnerable. This would be more likely if it has started being scared, at night, suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of having an injury. If it does seem like injury could be the cause, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
The cause might be that something has been causing it to be depressed. Causes could include an owner moving away, being mistreated or another pet dying.
In this case, it might improve over the course of a few weeks. But, you can help by giving your dog positive attention in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it. If it does not improve after a few weeks then it would help to get the help of a vet or a dog behaviorist.
Sometimes, puppies will go through a more fearful stage. If your dog is a puppy then it could be the case that it is going through a more fearful stage and it is likely that it will stop in a few weeks.
Things to consider
Below are some of things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started being scared at night
If your dog did not always act scared at night, it would help to consider what else happened at around the same time that it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as injury, illness or something causing it to be fearful.
What is different when it does it
It would also help to consider what is different when it does not do it. For example, if it does not do it when it can sleep with you, it would be more likely that it does it due to having some separation anxiety.
What to do about your dog being scared at night
Below are some things you can do in order to get your dog to stop being scared at night.
Ensure it is getting the right diet
As mentioned above, it could be the case that there is an issue with its diet. It would help to ensure that it is getting the correct diet for its breed and age. You can look here for some tips on what to feed it.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it has learned to act that way due to rewarding the behavior. Instead, try to reward it when it does not act scared, to redirect its attention when it is about to act that way and to train it to come to you when you want it to.
Limit reasons why it might be anxious
It would also help to limit reasons why it might be anxious at night. Things you could do would include, letting it pee just before you go to bed, giving it sufficient exercise during the day and not making it have to wait too long between meals.
If it has been showing signs of injury or illness, the best option would be to take it to a vet. If it is healthy, but it has been being scared excessively for more than a few weeks, it would also help to get help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to see what you should do in order to get your dog to stop doing it.
Crate training is where you teach your dog to learn to be comfortable inside of a crate designed for dogs.
If you crate train your dog in the right way it will give it a space where it can feel safe. This will give your dog a space where it will be able to feel secure at night without you being around.
Ensure the room it sleeps in is appropriate
It would also help to ensure that the room it sleeps in is comfortable for it. The room should be not too bright, cool and quiet.